One of the joys of having a dog is being the recipient of the unconditional love they so happily provide. Sure, every dog owner I know says they love their pet. Many of us actually think of our dogs as being like our children. (Some of them even behave better than our human children.)

Now, we all know how we express our love for our dogs, but exactly what are they doing to show us that they love us in return?

Here are some signs to look for that may prove that your pooch loves you just as much as you love them.

Imitating your actions

You may have heard of this “mirroring” with humans, where we subconsciously start doing the same things that our human partners do. If one person moves, then the other does, and so on. With dogs, they can’t perform the exact same actions, but they try. If you yawn, they may yawn back. If you get up and walk into another room, they may do the same thing, following along almost like a baby duckling.

Tagging along

This is along the same lines, but dogs will follow you almost anywhere that you go. This isn’t due to anxiety about being left behind; they do this out of love for you as their alpha. They love you so much that they don’t want to be separated from you. You may even notice that your dog will scratch at the door or just lie down outside when you go to the bathroom. If you are sick or depressed, they will sense that and stay even closer as a means of showing love and helping to make you feel better.

Heads and tails

Two easy ways to see that your dog loves you is to keep an eye on both ends of the dog. (Also a good idea when you take them for a walk.) If your dog looks you directly in the eyes, that is a way of showing that they love you. The same is true when their eyebrows perk up as they look at you. Also, it’s an old but true stereotype: a dog that wags its tail is a happy dog. If your dog wags its tail when you’re talking to it, it’s appreciating the attention that you’re showing.

Coming and going

If your dog is calm when you leave the house, it isn’t a sign that they won’t miss you. It’s a sign that they trust you and know that you will be back and will give them attention and love. They express this more when you come home and they begin running around you or maybe even jumping up on you. This is their way of giving you a “welcome home” hug.

Dogs are some of the most loving animals on the planet. If you show them love and tell them that you love them, they will understand this and return the sentiment.